Carbon Monoxide (CO)
This colourless, odourless and tasteless gas can be
very dangerous. It reduces the capacity of blood to transport
oxygen, so exposure to CO in concentrations above 4000 parts per million
(ppm) can cause death. Long-term exposure is thought to cause
health problems for people with cardiovascular disease. Alberta
Environment air quality standards set maximum permissible exposure
levels at 13.0 parts per billion (ppb) over 1 hour and an average of 5.0
ppb over any 8 hour period.
Carbon Monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion
of fuels containing carbon. As a result, cars , buses, furnaces,
fireplaces and industry are major sources of CO. Carbon Monoxide
levels tend to peak during morning and evening rush hours and in cold
Testing air samples for the amount of infrared light
they absorb monitors carbon monoxide levels. The more infrared
light that is absorbed, the higher the concentration of Carbon Monoxide.
Reprinted with permission of Alberta Community Development, Cultural
Facilities and Historical Resources Division.